Speed of viral contagion, plus misinformation around COVID-19

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COVID-19 might be infectious sooner than previous believed, says Dr. Michael Wilkes. Photo credit: PxHere.

A new Chinese study reveals that patients with COVID-19 might be infectious two days before symptoms show. 

That might impact the way we quarantine individuals who have the novel coronavirus, according to Dr. Michael Wilkes, a professor of medicine and global health at UC Davis. 

He says self-isolation management might become difficult if individuals have no idea they are sick or have been exposed to the virus. 

Viruses, such as COVID-19, measles and the flu have incubation periods, or a specific amount of time it takes for symptoms to appear in someone who is infected. According to Wilkes, COVID-19 has an incubation period of four to five days.  

The study examines the rate of viral shedding, or how much of the virus left the body during its incubation period. Researchers find that about 44% of people they studied were infected during the pre-symptomatic phase, Wilkes says. 

Virologist Judy Mikovits and misinformation

False or inaccurate information about the virus have spread, including “Plandemic,” a new viral video from controversial virologist Judy Mikovits. In the video, she claims that wearing face masks makes people sick and vaccines are dangerous. 

Wilkes says her comments are dangerous, bizarre, and appear to be politically motivated.

“This is a person who's not a physician. She's not a public health expert. To my knowledge, she has no special insight into COVID-19,” Wilkes says.

Mikovits authored a 2009 study on chronic fatigue syndrome that was retracted from the research publication “Science.” Wilkes says in the aftermath of the retraction, she accused the scientific community of conspiracy because she felt her views contradicted conventional thinking.  

YouTube has also removed “Plandemic” because it violates the streaming platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policies.

Wilkes believes the scientific community should listen at least once to out-of-the-box thinkers, but ultimately needs to provide honest and accurate information to the public.




Chery Glaser